Gender ideology is 'ugliest danger,' Pope says (CNA) Speaking on March 1 about the complementary relations of men and women, Pope Francis remarked that “today the ugliest danger is gender ideology, which cancels out differences.”
“Erasing differences is erasing humanity,” the Pope told participants at a Friday private audience. He stressed the need to preserve a Christian understanding of vocations—particularly the vocation to marriage—to counter contemporary ideologies.
At the audience the Pope read only a portion of his prepared speech. He then handed the text to an aide to be read, explaining: “I still have a cold and it’s tiring to read for a while.” Pope Francis had cancelled audiences twice in the past week because of his health, and at other audiences had relied on aides to deliver his talks.
Russian bishops: no blessings for irregular relationships (Tass) The Russian Catholic bishops have issued an instruction that “the blessing of any type of couples that persist in relationships that are unregulated from the point of view of Christian morality (cohabitation, bigamous second marriages, same-sex marriages) is unacceptable.”
The bishops said that the statement was necessary because “misunderstandings have arisen regarding the declaration Fiducia Supplicans. Their statement stressed that the Church’s teaching on marriage remains unchanged.
Pope has full day of appointments after going to hospital for tests (CNS) A day after his brief hospitalization for tests, Pope Francis held four private audiences on the morning of February 29.
The Pontiff received Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life; Father Andrzej Komorowski, superior general of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter; Patriarch Rui Valério, SMM, of Lisbon, Portugal; and the bishops of Emilia-Romagna, Italy (map).
Traditionalist fraternity encouraged by Pope at meeting (FSSP) Leaders of the traditionalist Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) met with Pope Francis on February 29, and reported that the Pontiff encouraged them in their commitment to the traditional Latin Mass.
Father Andrez Komorowski, the superior general of the FSSP, had requested the meeting, which took place two years after the Pope confirmed the traditionalist priests in their use of the ancient liturgy. The FSSP leaders said that the meeting allowed them to “share with [the Pope] the difficulties encountered” in the wake of Traditionis Custodes. “The Pope was very understanding,” a statement from the FSSP said.
The Pope encouraged the traditionalist group to “continue to build up ecclesial communion,” the statement added. He reportedly expressed his hope that FSSP priests would concelebrate the Novus Ordo liturgy with the bishops of their dioceses at the Chrism Mass.
Vatican foreign minister, in Turkey, laments persecution of Christians (Vatican News) Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations, has begun a four-day visit to Turkey, where he is attending the Antalya Diplomacy Forum.
In “so many innocent people who suffer, righteous people, who are persecuted or silenced by people who are deaf to the message of salvation of Jesus Christ, continues the story of the Suffering Servant and the persecuted Just One, betrayed by His own and persecuted by the powerful, condemned to the terrible death of the Cross,” he preached during Mass at the Latin-rite cathedral in Istanbul.
Archbishop Gallagher made the remark one month after an attack on a Turkish church during Sunday Mass.
“In an international context that the Holy Father has long defined as a Third World War in pieces, we are called first of all to be authentic Christians, capable of being led by the Spirit, without giving in to the temptation to resist Him,” the prelate added. “The Holy Spirit, we know, disrupts our plans and projects, and moves the Church forward. For the Church is unity in diversity.”
Archbishop Gallagher also met with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who holds a primacy of honor among the Orthodox churches.
Vatican diplomat urges UN Human Rights Council to address religious-freedom violations (Holy See Mission) Archbishop Ettore Balestrero, Permanent Observer to UN offices in Geneva (Switzerland), urged the UN Human Rights Council to address religious-freedom violations.
“Discrimination and persecution of believers are on the rise,” he stated on February 28. “Religious freedom is violated in almost one-third of the world’s countries, affecting around 4.9 billion people.”
“In some Western countries, religious discrimination and censorship are being perpetrated under the guise of ‘tolerance and inclusion,’” he continued. “Legislation originally aimed at combatting ‘hate speech’ is often instrumentalized to challenge the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, leading to censorship and ‘compelled speech.’”
Archbishop Balestrero also warned that “current attempts to introduce so-called ‘new rights’ are not always consistent with what is truly good for the human person. Such attempts lead to an ‘ideological colonization’ that undermines human dignity, creating divisions between cultures, societies, and States, rather than fostering unity and peace.”
“My delegation hopes that the session of the Human Rights Council will objectively identify and address the ongoing violations of fundamental human rights, determine their root causes, and take active measures to end these violations and the atrocities they often lead to,” the prelate concluded.
Embrace vulnerability, identify with Christ, Pope says (Vatican News) Speaking on March 1 to participants in a Vatican conference on welcoming those who are vulnerable, Pope Francis said that Christians should embrace their vulnerability, recognizing it as a means of identifying with the suffering Christ.
The Pope also pointed out that Jesus spent much of his public life with people who were sick and poor. He drew the lesson that the vulnerable should not be regarded as objects for a social program, but as active partners in the quest for holiness.
Pope's Holy Week, Triduum schedule leaves no concession to recent illness (Vatican Press Office (Italian)) Archbishop Diego Ravelli, the Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations, has released the list of the celebrations at which the Pope is scheduled to preside in March.
The Pontiff’s schedule for Holy Week and the Sacred Paschal Triduum leaves no concession to his recent illness, which led him to suspend some of his private audiences. As is customary, the Pope is scheduled to preside at Mass in St. Peter’s Square on Palm Sunday, the Chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Holy Thursday morning, the Good Friday liturgy in the basilica, the Via Crucis on Good Friday evening in the Colosseum, the Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Easter Sunday morning Mass in St. Peter’s Square, and the subsequent Urbi et Orbi blessing.
As has become customary in this pontificate, Archbishop Ravelli did not announce the location of the Pope’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening. The Pontiff has presided at that Mass in varied locations, including prisons and (in 2021) the private chapel of disgraced Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu.
French bishops 'saddened' by vote to include abortion in constitution (Conférence des évêques de France) The Bishops’ Conference of France stated that it was “saddened to learn of” the French senate’s 264-50 vote to add a putative right to abortion to the nation’s constitution.
“Thinking of those who are considering abortion, especially women in distress, the [bishops’ conference] reiterates that abortion, which remains an attack on life in its beginning, cannot be seen solely from the perspective of women’s rights,” the bishops stated. “At a time when the widespread violence against women and children is being highlighted, the Constitution of our country would have been honored to inscribe in its heart the protection of women and children.”
The bishops pledged to be “attentive to respect for the freedom of choice of parents who decide, even in difficult situations, to keep their child, and for the freedom of conscience of doctors and all health care workers.”
The abortion amendment is expected to gain the necessary three-fifths majority in a joint session of parliament next week.
US bishops announce strong opposition to Access to Family Building Act (USCCB) Four bishops who chair committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have announced their strong opposition to the Access to Family Building Act, sponsored by Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).
The sweeping legislation, which has 47 Senate cosponsors, would forbid private individuals and entities from attempts to “unreasonably limit or interfere” with artificial reproductive technologies and explicitly remove protections afforded by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
“Faith-based non-profit charities, schools, and Church organizations that serve your communities and, out of principle, cannot cover in vitro fertilization (IVF) in their employee health plans could face impossible, potentially existential choices,” the bishops stated in a letter to senators. “Faith-based health care facilities and providers of faith could likewise be forced to facilitate procedures that violate their beliefs or to exit the field.”
World Day of Prayer highlights plight of Palestinian Christian women (World Day of Prayer) The World Day of Prayer’s 2024 program, which garnered lengthy and sympathetic coverage in the Vatican newspaper, centers on a reflection on Ephesians 4:1-7 by Palestinian Christian women.
“We reflected collectively on this theme from the context of our suffering as Palestinian Christian women,” they said. “We hope to inspire other women around the world to bear with one another in love during troubled times.”
The World Day of Prayer, an ecumenical women’s initiative that dates from the 19th century, takes place on March 1.
March papal prayer intention: for martyrs of our time (Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network) The Pope’s March prayer intention, disseminated by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer), is “we pray that those who risk their lives for the Gospel in various parts of the world inflame the Church with their courage and missionary enthusiasm.”
In a video for the prayer intention, Pope Francis said that the courage of Christian martyrs is a blessing for everyone.
'Demos II'--identified as cardinal--writes 'profile of the next Pope' (New Daily Compass) Two years after “Demos”—later identified as Cardinal George Pell—wrote a memo strongly criticizing the current pontificate, “Demos II” has written a document that “defines the seven priorities of the next conclave to repair the confusion and crisis created by this pontificate.”
“Demos II,” according to La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana [The New Daily Compass], is the principal author of a new text written “after he collated the suggestions of other cardinals and bishops.”
“It is clear that the strength of Pope Francis’ pontificate is the added emphasis he has given to compassion toward the weak, outreach to the poor and marginalized, concern for the dignity of creation and the environmental issues that flow from it, and efforts to accompany the suffering and alienated in their burdens,” writes Demos II.
“Its shortcomings are equally obvious: an autocratic, at times seemingly vindictive, style of governance; a carelessness in matters of law; an intolerance for even respectful disagreement; and – most seriously – a pattern of ambiguity in matters of faith and morals causing confusion among the faithful,” he continued. “The task of the next pontificate must therefore be one of recovery and reestablishment of truths that have been slowly obscured or lost among many Christians.”
Pope warns Armenia's bishops against ecclesiastical ambition (Vatican Press Office) In a wide-ranging address to the synod of the Armenian Catholic Church (CNEWA profile), Pope Francis warned against ecclesiastical ambition, denounced war, and spoke of the importance of offering “God’s love in their own ecclesial tradition” to Armenian Catholics outside their homeland.
“Dear brothers, one of the great responsibilities of the Synod is precisely to give your Church the bishops of tomorrow,” the Pope emphasized. “I urge you to choose them carefully, so that they will be devoted to the flock, faithful to pastoral care, and not driven by personal ambition.”
“A bishop who sees his eparchy as a stepping-stone to another more ‘prestigious’ position forgets that he is married to the Church and risks, if I may be allowed to use the expression, committing ‘pastoral adultery,’” the Pope continued. “The same thing happens when one wastes time scheming to get new jobs or promotions.”
In his address— read aloud by an aide, Msgr. Filippo Ciampanelli—the Pope added, “How can we not finally turn our thoughts to Armenia, not only in words but above all in our prayers, particularly for all those fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh and for the many displaced families seeking refuge ... So many wars, and so much suffering ... So often have I pleaded: ‘Enough!’”
Catholic ethicists decry lax 'brain-death' standards [Exclusive] (CWN) Current medical criteria for diagnosing “brain death” are woefully inadequate, and more than half of organ donors who have been declared “brain dead” are still alive. These are the conclusions of a group of 151 Catholic doctors, ethicists, theologians, and others, in a statement released on February 27.
Let Jesus guide efforts to protect rights, Pope tells Argentine judges (Vatican News) In a video message sent to the Committee of Pan-American Judges for Social Rights and Franciscan Doctrine (COPAJU) for the dedication of its new headquarters in Buenos Aires, Pope Francis said that “we live in times of profound injustice: a few rich becoming increasingly powerful, and millions of poor being rejected and discarded.”
“There is no future, no development, no justice, nor democracy in a world where millions of children eat only the waste of those who consume,” the Pope continued, as he described “the ‘god’ of the market and the ‘goddess’ of profit” as “false deities” that “lead us to dehumanization and the destruction of the planet.”
In contrast, “the word of Jesus, on which the social doctrine of the Church is based,” is a “safe and bright path,” the Pope said.
COPAJU arose from a 2019 meeting between the Pope and Latin American judges in Rome, according to the organization. Last August, the Pope recognized the organization as an international private association of the faithful.
Papal condemnation of landmines (Vatican News) At the conclusion of his February 28 general audience, Pope Francis lamented the continued use of landmines, as he recalled the 25th anniversary of the Ottawa Treaty, which seeks their elimination.
“Landmines remind us of the dramatic cruelty of wars and the price civilian populations are forced to bear,” he said. “I thank all those who offer their contributions to assist the victims and clean up the contaminated areas: their work is a concrete response to the universal call to be peacemakers, taking care of our brothers and sisters.”
“Dear brothers and sisters, let us not forget the peoples suffering because of war: Ukraine, Palestine, Israel and so many others,” he added. “And let us pray for the victims of the recent attacks on places of worship in Burkina Faso, as well as for the people of Haiti, where crimes and kidnappings by armed gangs continue.”
France advances pro-abortion amendment to constitution (The Guardian) A proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee a right to abortion has been approved by the French Senate, and is expected to gain the necessary three-fifths majority in a joint session of parliament next week.
The amendment, strongly championed by President Emmanuel Macron, would enshrine the “guaranteed freedom” to abort in the constitution. French justice minister Eric Dupond-Moretti welcomed the Senate vote as “historic.”
Archbishop Michel Aupetit, the former Archbishop of Paris, reacted differently, noting that the amendment threatens the conscience rights of health-care workers. “France has hit rock bottom,” he said.
Bishop named for troubled French archdiocese (Vatican Press Office) Pope Francis has named Bishop Pascal Delannoy of Saint-Denis, France, as the new archbishop of Strasbourg.
Last May, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop Luc Ravel, 66, of Strasbourg. The French archbishop, accused of having an autocratic management style, had tendered his resignation at the Vatican’s request following an apostolic visitation, but defended his tenure.
Then, earlier this month, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of 51-year-old Auxiliary Bishop Gilles Reithinger, MEP. The prelate, who was formerly superior general of the Society of Paris Foreign Missions, had been accused of failing to address abuse allegations.
Spanish archdiocese decries same-sex wedding in Catholic chapel (Our Sunday Visitor) The Archdiocese of Madrid has issued a statement saying that it was “neither informed nor consulted” about a same-sex wedding ceremony held in a Catholic chapel.
The archdiocese emphasized that the ceremony took place in a private chapel, without official permission. “In no case is it permitted to perform a civil marriage within a religious enclosure,” the statement said.